A good friend of mine, who is also a runner asked me three questions recently. It got me thinking. Here are the questions and my thoughts. I will caveat my responses by saying that I don't think there is one single right answer. Lots of different opinions and lots of different methods have proven great results!!
Building endurance - no matter how tired from your morning workout, do you still do an evening workout? and push yourself again the next day? I find that my mind constantly battles with go, go, go and on the other hand, listen to your body...
I think listen to your body, but listen to it brutally honestly. If you're thinking "can't be bothered" but you're not sore, your resting HR is not elevated or if you are generally too soft on yourself you can always find an excuse to not go and train and always claim to not want to be pushing yourself to fatigue.
There is a great article about over training here.
You have to know yourself quite well and be very disciplined to be able to tell when you are just being soft or when you really are fatigued or approaching injury and you have a genuine reason to rest. I find resting heart rate a really good indicator – if it’s up by more than about 10 beats per minute you may need to be a little careful!
Speed - what's the biggest contributor to speed with running? Interval training?
Running speed is very simply Stride Length x Stride Frequency. There is only so much you can increase your cadence (I already run with a fairly fast turnover), so for most people the easiest way to increase speed is to increase stride length which means strengthening your legs. Intervals and faster running is one way of doing it, other ways are by doing strength sets (lunges, squats, bounds, burpees) at intervals during a steady run, plyometrics training for legs, lunges and squats carrying weights, hill repeats, high resistance cycling or any other leg strengthening exercise.
What do you eat/ drink post your morning work-out so that you’re not falling asleep at your desk around 10am and then again around 4pm? How do you keep a sustained energy level? I find that after a rough morning work-out, I'm drooping by 11; coffee is great for instant burst but the downhill is terrible.
I like having eggs on toast (wholemeal, spelt or rye), or an omelette followed by toast. I like to drink fresh orange juice with it, which is great for replacing sodium and potassium lost in sweat. I also have coffee, but no sugar in it. I find that makes the ‘down’ worse!
Most importantly, drink lots of water throughout the day too!